James Harrison, who will turn 35 in May, was set to make $6.57 million next season. The Steelers wanted him back at a reduced rate, but when the two sides couldn't come to an agreement on the terms, they released Harrison, one of the best outside linebackers in franchise history.
Two weeks later, Harrison remains one of the coldest names in free agency. And things got colder Sunday when the Ravens, who reportedly had plans to meet with Harrison, signed Elvis Dumervil to a five-year deal.
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Now that Baltimore has landed its legit pass rusher to line up opposite Terrell Suggs, there's likely little need for Harrison, unless he's willing to play for something closer to the veteran league minimum than the $6.57 million he was going to earn next season in Pittsburgh.
In fact, beyond the Ravens, there has been no public interest in Harrison's services, although one possibility is perhaps the most obvious: a return to the Steelers.
Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the door hasn't been closed to a Steel City reunion and he'd welcome a call from the organization. Whether Pittsburgh feels similarly is another issue, although the Observer-Reporter's Dale Lolley noted shortly after the Ravens signed Dumervil that "the odds are increasing ever so slightly that James Harrison could be back in Pittsburgh in 2013."
The two sides appeared to part company on good terms, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette noted last month that "the coaching staff is counting on Harrison and [LaMarr] Woodley for 2013. Harrison's salary could be an issue as the team tries to get under the cap, but the coaches would like him back at right outside linebacker."
Unless the organization is now fully committed to seeing what 2010 second-round pick Jason Worilds can do, it's reasonable to think Harrison could still help a defense lacking depth at key positions, outside linebacker among them. But just like the last time this conversation took place, it could come down to money. Presumably, Harrison's asking price has come down after two quiet weeks of free agency.